by Brandon Butler
Verizon’s support tweet suggests turning off 5G 3/1/2021

Kim Lyons for The Verge:

Despite its relentless promotion of 5G phones and the fact that it spent more than $45 billion bidding on a new faster spectrum, Verizon support now is advising people on Twitter to turn off their phones’ 5G access to preserve battery life.

In a Sunday morning tweet, Verizon support helpfully suggested that “one way to help conserve battery life is to turn on LTE” if users found their batteries were “draining faster than normal.” That step would, of course, turn off 5G in a phone that has it available. It’s also worth pointing out that you don’t actually “turn on LTE” when doing this step — LTE is always enabled as a fallback for the 5G network. But Verizon is obviously being cautious so as not to actually tell its customers to “turn off 5G”.

The tweet has since been removed, but this is very likely a case of an underpaid social media employee working an early Sunday morning, trying to be helpful, and probably saw this “tip” on TikTok or Instagram and decided to repost it. While these channels are officially connected to the companies, they are rarely a unified voice. This is almost certainly why Apple doesn’t have these kinds of social media customer interaction channels: Apple’s marketing is tightly controlled. Not so for many other brands.

Despite Verizon’s massive marketing push into 5G, I hope they doesn’t fire whoever posted this — it’s actually a really good troubleshooting step! It can improve battery life and in many areas might actually speed up your cellular internet connection. And while I keep 5G off on my iPhone, you might get better performance with 5G turned on. 5G is such a spotty mess right now, it’s impossible to say what works best in your area.